Here’s what happens to a child’s throat if a battery gets stuck
HONOLULU (KHNL/Gray News) – Tiny round lithium batteries are able to power many devices in your home, but they’re dangerous to leave lying around for a toddler to find.
Dr. Camilla Fraga Lovejoy, of the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, said a handful of kids show up in the emergency room each year after trying to swallow a battery.
“The main worry is actually when it’s stuck in your esophagus, that’s when it causes the major damage,” Lovejoy said, adding it takes just minutes for the battery to start damaging the throat.
KHNL did an experiment to show how quickly harm is done by putting a new round lithium battery in a chunk of Spam and a dead battery into another chunk of Spam.
In 15 minutes, it was clear, the meat had chemical burns and both chunks had started to turn color.
About half an hour in, the meat around the new battery started to bubble.
Experts say this is what happens to a child’s throat if a battery gets stuck.
“It can be life-threatening for kids,” Lovejoy said, adding a battery can burn a hole through the esophagus.
The button batteries are found in many everyday items, including:
- car key fobs
- remote controls
- kid toys
- hearing aids
- greeting cards
If you don’t see the child swallow a battery but notice one is missing, check for the signs that include vomiting, drooling and refusing to eat or drink.
If your child also seems to be choking, doctors advise you to take the child to the ER immediately or call 911.
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